December 24th, 2012
03:45 AM ET

Shooter in Afghanistan insider attack is an Iranian national, official says

By Masoud Popalzai

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) - The female police officer who killed a U.S. contractor in Kabul on Monday is an Iranian national, an Afghan government official said Tuesday.

Sediq Seddiqi, an Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman, said the Afghan police officer is an Iranian citizen who met her Afghan husband in Iran. After they eventually went to live in Afghanistan, he managed to help her illegally obtain Afghan citizenship.

The United States has long been concerned about Iranian terror-related activity against U.S. targets. But Seddiqi said he doesn't have evidence to link the attacker to militant groups carrying out acts of terror. She was arrested and was questioned, he said.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Green on Blue Attacks • NATO
Report details military approach to ‘insider attacks’ amid success
November 1st, 2012
07:35 PM ET

Report details military approach to ‘insider attacks’ amid success

By Larry Shaughnessy

A new report details the military's approach for countering so-called insider attacks in Afghanistan, which remain a concern but have declined over the past month.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in a periodic update to Congress that the U.S. military and its partners in the region have taken four steps to address the problem that triggered concerns about the stability of Afghan security forces ahead of planned NATO withdrawals in 2014.

The plan involves enhanced training that emphasizes cultural awareness, counterintelligence techniques, vigilance, and real-time information sharing as well as implementing a "guardian angel" program, in which one or more coalition troops remain armed and ready when working with Afghan counterparts.

The plan also expands vetting and counter-intelligence operations and efforts to analyze attack patterns.

The Afghan defense ministry also took steps to help reduce the problem by going back and rechecking each service member's background to make sure there was no indications they might one day turn their guns on their brothers in arms.

This year through the end of September, 38 insider attacks killed 53 troops in Afghanistan, including 33 Americans, according to Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. William Speaks. The number spiked in August to 15 fatalities, which included a dozen U.S. forces.

There have been no confirmed attacks since September 29, Speaks said, but some incidents are under investigation.

And earlier this week, a man wearing an Afghan police uniform shot and killed two British soldiers in an apparent "green on blue" attack.

U.S. official:  CIA officer killed in Afghanistan
The bazaar in remote Kandahar Province's Maruf District, Jan. 26, 2011.
October 17th, 2012
05:08 PM ET

U.S. official: CIA officer killed in Afghanistan

By Mike Mount with reporting from Chris Lawrence, Suzanne Kelly and Pam Benson

A CIA officer was among those killed in Afghanistan in a suicide attack that also killed an American soldier, according to a U.S. official.

The attack, which occurred Saturday in southern Kandahar province, also killed four Afghan National Security troops, according to a U.S official with knowledge of the details of the attack.

The attack is believed to have been a case of an Afghan security force member attacking his own forces, the official said.

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Afghan government: Insider attacks are terrorism
In this photograph taken on August 5, 2012, an Afghan National Army soldier walks during a patrol with US soldiers from Apache team, Task force Geronimo in the village of Karizona, Sabari District in Khost Province.
October 4th, 2012
06:45 PM ET

Afghan government: Insider attacks are terrorism

By Jamie Crawford

The vast majority of attacks by Afghan soldiers on their U.S. and NATO counterparts are the result of a "mutation" of terrorist tactics rather than a difference in cultural sensitivities, a senior Afghan official said Thursday.

"The majority of it is a terrorist infiltration in the (Afghan army) ranks and forces which is a tragic thing in itself," Jawed Ludin, Afghanistan'sdeputy foreign minister, said of "green on blue' attacks, in which Afghan soldiers turn their weapons on NATO forces alongside whom they serve.

U.S. officials have said a percentage of such attacks can be attributed to cultural grievances by Afghan forces, as well as Taliban or other insurgents exploiting the situation to drive a wedge between the United States and Afghanistan.
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Critic: "Absurd" for Panetta to call Taliban attacks a "last gasp"
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff brief reporters at the Pentagon Wednesday.
September 27th, 2012
08:09 PM ET

Critic: "Absurd" for Panetta to call Taliban attacks a "last gasp"

By Larry Shaughnessy

One of Washington's foremost analysts of military issues has some harsh words about Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's take on the insider attack problem in Afghanistan, calling it "absurd."

During a recent trip to Japan, Panetta was asked about U.S. and other International Security Assistance Force troops being killed by members of the Afghan security forces, or insurgents dressed like them.

He said, "And we think, frankly, it is kind of a last gasp effort to be able to not only target our forces, but to try to create chaos, because they've been unable to regain any of the territory that they have lost." On Thursday, Panetta reiterated his point during a briefing with reporters, saying, "It's near the end of their effort to really fully fight back."

"Quite frankly i think that most intelligent people and military people would privately think that Secretary Panetta's comments are absurd, perhaps harmful. Because they just can't be taken seriously," said Anthony Cordesman a senior analyst at CSIS, a major Washington think tank, and a recipient of Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award for his work at the Pentagon before joining CSIS. "They are not at the last gasp, all they really have to do is at this point outwait us, constantly put pressure on areas that give them political visibility. They don't have to defeat ISAF, it's leaving."

While Cordesman does not agree with Panetta's remarks, he says that doesn't mean the Taliban is on the road to victory.

"The fact that statement clearly is untrue doesn't mean that necessarily the Taliban can win," Cordesman said. "Whether this will give them control of the country or not is something nobody can determine. It's a long way from talking about last gasp."

Even Panetta conceded Thursday that insider attacks may not be the Taliban's final arrow in their insurgent quiver. "Whether or not, you know, it's the end of their bag of tactics to come at us I think is still an open question."

Hunting down inside attack perpetrators
In this photograph taken on August 5, 2012, an Afghan National Army soldier walks during a patrol with US soldiers from Apache team, Task force Geronimo in the village of Karizona, Sabari District in Khost Province.
September 21st, 2012
03:29 PM ET

Hunting down inside attack perpetrators

By Wesley Bruer

The killing and capture of Taliban leaders and facilitators indicates Afghan and coalition troops are aggressively targeting those insurgents involved in "green on blue" attacks, which have accounted for more than 50 coalition deaths this year.

In addition to taking extreme measures to ensure safety while effectively training their Afghan counterparts, coalition forces have made it a priority to share and utilize intelligence to kill or capture anyone responsible for the insider attacks.

On Monday, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed the death of a Taliban member believed to be behind a May 11 insider attack. The casualty report stated that "an individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform has turned his weapon against coalition service members," which left one service member dead.

The insurgent, identified as "Mahmood," was killed in a precision airstrike in Kunar Province on September 15 in what the assistance force said was "the result of Afghan and coalition efforts to track down and find insurgents involved with insider attacks."
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Limits on joint patrols may undercut transition in Afghanistan
In this photograph taken on August 5, 2012, an Afghan National Army soldier walks during a patrol with US soldiers from Apache team, Task force Geronimo in the village of Karizona, Sabari District in Khost Province.
September 19th, 2012
02:43 PM ET

Limits on joint patrols may undercut transition in Afghanistan

By Joe Sterling

NATO's decision limiting some operations with Afghan troops might lessen so-called insider attacks, analysts say.

But the move could undermine the coalition's efforts to help the locals take over their nation's security.

Coalition forces have been regularly partnering with small Afghan units in operations for years.

But in an order Sunday from Gen. John Allen, head of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, a regional commander now must give the OK for a joint operation, a move seen as a setback to the transition of military power to Afghans by the end of 2014.

The spurt of attacks by Afghan police and soldiers against their coalition counterparts and the anger of the anti-Islam video that went viral across the world forced the NATO-led force to adjust the relations between coalition and Afghan forces.
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Filed under: Afghanistan • Green on Blue Attacks • NATO
September 18th, 2012
05:30 AM ET

U.S. restricts Afghan operations after 'green-on-blue' killings, anti-Islam film

From Barbara Starr and Holly Yan

U.S. troops in Afghanistan have been ordered to halt some joint operations with Afghan security forces after a spate of attacks by their local allies and amid fallout from a controversial anti-Islam video.

"In response to an increased threat situation as a result of the 'Innocence of Muslims' video, plus the recent insider attacks, ISAF forces are increasing their vigilance and carefully reviewing all activities and interactions with the local population," said Maj. Lori Hodge, a spokeswoman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force, said Tuesday.

"We adjust our force protection measures based on the threat. If the threat level goes down, we could see a rolling back on this decision."

The "Innocence of Muslims" video, which was privately produced in the United States, mocks the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer, child molester and killer.

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August 27th, 2012
06:43 AM ET

Afghan soldier kills two NATO troops, ISAF says

An Afghan soldier opened fire on NATO troops Monday, killing two in the latest "green-on-blue" attack in the country, a military statement said.

The attacker fired on troops with NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in eastern Afghanistan, according to the coalition.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Green on Blue Attacks • NATO
General: Quarter of Afghan insider attacks by Taliban
August 23rd, 2012
05:32 PM ET

General: Quarter of Afghan insider attacks by Taliban

By Mike Mount

About 25% of attacks by Afghan security forces against U.S. and other allied troops in Afghanistan come from Taliban infiltrators, a much higher number than the 10% the Pentagon had estimated, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan said Thursday.

U.S. Gen, John Allen, the chief commander of the International Security and Assistance Force, spoke to reporters Thursday at the Pentagon by video teleconference. He said that by his estimation, a quarter of the "green-on-blue," or "insider" attacks were insurgency-based. But he could not dismiss a Pentagon review that had said only about 10% were by Taliban forces that had sneaked into Afghan military and police ranks.

"This still requires a lot of analysis," he said. "So if it's just pure Taliban infiltration, that is one number. If you add to that impersonation the potential that someone is pulling the trigger because the Taliban have coerced the family members, that's a different number," he said.
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